Nowadays, the vast majority of flutes are made industrially, each worker doing a single task in the production line. Our handmade craftsman approach is comparable to stringed instrument makers: we craft our instruments one by one and each of us at Parmenon is able to execute every task one requires, from the initial roughs to the final finishing touches, from machining the components to shaping the embouchure hole.

1° Raw materials

Our flutes start off as raw metal in the form of bars, tubes and sheet in various sizes.

Tubes are used to make the body, key pipes, toneholes and rings.
The bars are turned to make posts and cups, or forged to make roughs for the levers.
The sheets are drop-forged to obtain roughs of pointed arms, kickers and other parts of the mechanism.

2° Roughs

The result of drop-forging a sheet of metal or die-forging a bar is called a “rough”.

Drop-forged roughs are used to make the parts of the mechanical transmission such as key kickers and arms.
Die-forged roughs are mainly used to make levers, such as G#, middle C# and thumb levers.

3° Machining

The word “machining” refers to various techniques wherein parts are manufactured by the removal of material using specific tools.

Turning on a conventional or digital lathe is used to produce parts like flute posts and rings.
Milling is used to calibrate the thickness of parts thickness and to machine their shape. We use it to make key kickers and pointed arms for example.

After machining we obtain finished or partly-finished parts, stored until the making of the flute.

4° Preparing parts

Depending on the flute model and chosen options, we gather all the parts needed to prepare it for assembly.

Spatulas, which are still rough drafts at this step, are shaped by filing. This allows us to personalize the design and ergonomics. Each part is then sanded with successively finer sandpaper to remove all machining traces and is finally polished.

5° Assembly and precise fitting

To begin, we assemble the body.
The toneholes are then precisely placed on the body tube and soldered.
Next, we position and solder the posts and ribs that will supports the mechanism.
Toneholes are drilled and tonehole rims are flattened. Finally the mechanism is assembled on the body.

Each key consists of a set of parts. These are fitted, positionned, and then brazed onto a key pipe.
This meticulous work requires extreme precision, on the order of a hundredth of a millimeter.

6° Finishing

We give the keys a final polish and adjust the key axles and bronze screws. The flute is then pinned and oiled.
Finally, the springs, felt bumpers and pads are put in place and we fine-tune the mechanism.

At last comes the moment where the flute will be heard for the first time.
This is the maker’s privilege and the reward for several weeks of work on a unique instrument.

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